Friday, October 28, 2011

Informal Forum (11/13/2011): The National Debt (Again)

How Should We Deal with the National Debt?

(a question so important, we're talking about it twice!)

An Oconee Community Forum Conversation
Brought to you by the Russell Forum for Civic Life in Georgia
When: Sunday, November 13, 2011 -- 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Where: Oconee Public Library Auditorium, 1080 Experiment Station Rd. Watkinsville, Georgia

According to Congressional Budget Office, the federal government closed out fiscal year 2011 with an estimated deficit of $1.3 trillion--the third straight year that the deficit exceeded a trillion dollars. The current total of all accumulated U.S. budget deficits is $14.8 trillion and accounts for 8.6% of the size of the overall economy. Have you ever wondered how much of that $14 trillion+ debt is on your shoulders now or on the shoulders of your kids in the future? Currently, every American’s share of the national debt and unfunded liabilities like Medicare and Social Security is $184,000 and climbing. If we do nothing to solve this ballooning debt, the federal government will be spending every tax dollar on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the debt alone in 29 years. That will mean either much higher taxes or far fewer government services for the same tax level in future decades.

But what do we do about it?
Should we cut government programs?
Raise taxes?
What if taming the debt crisis makes the economy worse?

The Russell Forum for Civic Life in Georgia, a civic engagement program of UGA’s Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies is pleased to host a forum program where Oconee County community members can share and discuss their ideas for solving this tough situation. Led by trained non-partisan moderators, forum participants will weigh the benefits, consequences, and associated tradeoffs of several possible approaches to tackling the national debt. The group will use a new National Issues Forums Institute discussion guide, A Nation in Debt: How Can We Pay the Bills? as the basis for the discussion. The approaches in the guide represent a broad range of perspectives from across the political spectrum. During the forum, participants may find some areas of agreement, just as they may likely clarify areas where their beliefs and perspectives differ greatly.

The Oconee community forum is part of a national conversation on the debt sponsored by the Kettering Foundation in concert with the National Issues Forums Institute and the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress. The ideas that participants share in the forum will become part of a national report that will chart American perspectives on fixing the national debt. The sponsors will share this report with lawmakers around the country. Learn more about this national initiative at

This Oconee community forum is free and all are welcome. There will be light refreshments. The forum will take place at the Oconee Public Library auditorium from 3-5p.m. The Oconee Public Library is located at 1080 Experiment Station Rd. Watkinsville, Georgia between the Post Office and the Health Department. Parking is free.

For more information about this program, please contact Jill Severn, Director of the Russell Forum at or 706-542-5766, or visit the Russell Forum Website at

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